Actually I hadn’t planned to introduce you to “Semmelknödel” (dumplings from rolls) before late September but my daughter kept begging for them despite the hot weather. Now, since a few days we are heaving thunderstorms and the grey clouds and rain gave me just the necessary German feeling that I needed to cook this meal.
One can actually buy a package of Semmelknödel in our grocery in the “International” section and if you really crave them, this can be an easy (though not faster) solution … but they don’t even come close to the “made from scratch” version that you will learn about here.
“Semmelknödel” is actually one of the many German words that is made from two words: Semmel and Knödel. The word Semmel means “rolls” in the Bavarian dialect and Knödel simply means “dumpling“. The “ö” is kind of pronounced like the beginning in the word “early” and other than in the English language the “k” before an “n” is pronounced, too.
Rolls with butter and jam or with cheese or a slice of our almost endless variety of cold cuts is what many Germans have for breakfast. There are small bakeries everywhere close to where people live and they all bake fresh, crisp rolls and bread from early morning until the evening. Bread and rolls are always consumed as fresh as possible and that means, that we sometimes have leftover rolls or bread that is not fresh enough to be loved. But we wouldn’t throw them in the trash, we use them for Semmelknödel.
If I don’t have (enough) leftover rolls, I use old bread, old Hamburger buns or even toast and it doesn’t matter whether it is a whole wheat product or not.
The three ingredients that make the most of the taste in dumplings are the bacon, onions and (very important!) the parsley! Don’t leave them out unless you really have to.
When we had an Octoberfest party a while ago, I had a guest who is allergic to eggs, so I made a small batch without eggs in it, wrapped the dumpling in ceran before I put it into the boiling water, so it wouldn’t fall apart – and it worked!
Important to know:
Depending on the density of your bread/roll and on how dry it is, you will need more or less milk. If the dough is to wet, I always have an extra bun to cut and add to it. If that is not enough, I use some breadcrumbs from my pantry but it’s not a perfect solution. I’d advise to first use ¾ th of the milk, then mix the dough and then check if you need more. Adding milk is always easier than adding rolls!
Now have fun with this truly and very original German recipe – after two or three times it will be as easy for you as frying eggs!
Semmelknödel - dumplings from rolls
- 4-6 slices thick cut bacon center cut is best
- 1 medium large onion
- 300 g, (about 4-5 pieces) rolls, buns or bread at least one day old
- 250 ml milk maybe more, maybe less
- 30 g Butter optional
- 3 eggs
- 1 bundle parsley fresh, coarse parsley preferred
- Here is an overview of of the ingredients. I needed some more onion for the other components of the meal, that's why I used a large (or even huge) onion. I also skipped the butter since the milk was already whole milk.
- First cut the bacon in cubes.
- Slowly fry the bacon cubes in a pan. Don't discard the fat, you will need it in the dough.
- While the bacon is frying, cut the onion and add it to the bacon when it's almost done for the last few minutes.
- Cut the rolls (or bread) into cubes, about the size of a cherry or a little larger.
- Wash and dry the parsley.
- Cut the parsley as small as possible, use a machine if that's easier for you.
- Place the bread cubes in a large bowl, add the bacon, the fat from the pan, the fried onions and the parsley to the bowl.
- Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. Heat the milk with the butter in it (optional) in the microwave.
- Meanwhile fill a large cooking pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil.
- Add eggs and milk/butter mix to the bowl.
- Stir with a large spoon and then start kneading it with your hands - that's actually fun! Mix very well! Form 5-6 dumplings of the same size. Make sure to press the dough together while forming, so they won't fall apart.
- Remove the boiling water from the stove. Carefully add the dumplings to the water - one by one. Put the pot back to the stove but reduce the heat, so it will only boil a very little bit.
- After a few minutes decline the heat even more so it is just close to boiling. Let stand for about 20 minutes. Add a lid!
- When the dumplings are ready, carefully remove them from the water and serve in a bowl. They taste best when fresh and hot!